(July 23, 1921 – July 27, 1999) was a Catholic priest, theologian, writer
on the Catholic Church, and professor at the Vatican's Pontifical Biblical
Institute. He held five doctorates and was the author of sixteen books
which covered religious and geo-political topics. He wrote additional
books under pen names. He was a controversial commentator on the Vatican
and other matters involving the Church.
Father Martin took part in the research of the Dead
Sea Scrolls, and published twenty four articles on Semitic paleography in
He was summoned to Rome to work within the Holy See and act as the private
secretary for Augustin Cardinal Bea S.J. from 1958 until 1964. This
brought him into close contact with Pope John XXIII. His years in Rome
coincided with the start of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), which
was to transform the Catholic Church in a way that the initially-liberal
Martin began to find distressing.
While in Rome, he became a professor within the Pontifical Biblical
Institute of the Vatican, where he taught Aramaic, paleography, Hebrew and
Disillusioned by the reforms taking place among the Jesuits, the Church's
largest religious order, Martin requested a release from his vows of
poverty and obediency in 1964 from Paul VI personally, and left Rome
suddenly that June.
After a brief stay in Paris, Martin relocated to New York City in 1965,
where he first had to make ends meet as a dishwasher and taxi driver
before being able to make his living by his writings. He co-founded an
antiques firm and was active in the communications and media field for the
rest of his life.
After his arrival in New York, Terence Cardinal Cooke gave him permission
to perform priestly faculties. The cardinal advised him to find lodging
with a family rather than live alone as he initially did. It was to the
Manhattan home of Kakia Livanos and her family, that he moved. She was his
landlady who provided his rooms, his meals, and the oratory where he said
In 2004, Father Vincent O'Keefe S.J., former Vicar
General of the Society of Jesus and a past President of Fordham
University, affirmed that Martin had never been laicized. O'Keefe stated
that Martin had been released from all his priestly vows - poverty and
obedience - save the vow of chastity.
It is claimed that attacks were mounted on Martin in retaliation for his
book The Jesuits, which is hostile to the Jesuit order of which he had
formerly been a member. In the book, he accuses the Jesuits of deviating
from their original character and mission by embracing Liberation
Martin died after a fall in his apartment in
Manhattan, New York, in 1999. His funeral wake took place in St. Anthony
of Padua Roman Catholic Chapel of West Orange, New Jersey. Requiem Mass
for his repose was offered by the late Father Paul A. Wickens (April 14,
1930 – July 8, 2004) before being buried within the Gate of Heaven
Cemetery, in Hawthorne, New York.
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